Analysis of Eugene McCarthy's Anti-Vietnam War Campaign Speech that would "Crystallize Dissent"

Essay by redguardHigh School, 10th gradeA+, April 2004

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There was no doubt that in the late 1960's and early 1970's the US' involvement in Vietnam had spurred more than just a small protest; a significant amount of the population had turned against it. This was not just limited to civilians though, as a few politicians also spoke out. One of these people was Senator Eugene McCarthy. Using memories of Adlai Stevenson and JFK, McCarthy effectively sent his message through at a Conference of Concerned Democrats on December 2, 1967. Eugene McCarthy was one of the sole people in government that protested the war and succeeded his cause.

Senator Eugene McCarthy was a Democrat from Minnesota, who was the messiah for the "substantial minority [that] had turned against the US involvement in the war between North and South Vietnam. He gave a speech at a conference, having his message heard by many. There was no official title to it, but the speech is usually referred to as "Senator Eugene McCarthy Crystallizes Dissent By Denouncing the War in Vietnam."

McCarthy is the one that turned the antiwar protest into a movement. "He is remembered for identifying the 'joyless spirit' of part of America in 1967-68 and enabling it to turn a sitting president out of power." McCarthy's efforts helped put an ineffective Lyndon out of power. This political essay connects with my time period because it shows how some politicians that protested the Vietnam War, even under extreme political pressure, continued their fight to make their message heard.

McCarthy's speech included a large amount of symbolism and irony; after all, he was a poet before becoming a senator. Adlai Stevenson creates a metaphoric horn, and Kennedy symbolized the drum that caused the people to march. Essentially, the speech is a calling to the pro-war citizens and politicians to...